My friend Joanne Miller and I are writing a book about creativity. We have both experienced the healing power of art in our lives. From time to time I want to share with you some of what will be coming out this next Spring in our book: “Be your finest Art”. Dorsey McHugh
When we talk about waking up the artist within us, we are also speaking of recognizing ways to take better care of our own souls. One of the first requirements is to acknowledge we even have a soul. You may not be surprised to know that modern thinking often excludes the soul. Thomas Moore in “Care of the Soul” said: Fulfilling work, rewarding relationships, personal power, and relief from symptoms are all gifts of the soul; They are particularly elusive in our time because we don‘t believe in the soul and therefore give it no place in our hierarchy of values.” Thomas Moore goes on in his wonderful book, to give some ways of taking care of this precious part of us. Moore recognized the power of art in bringing health to this side of our selves. We want to site other examples of where Art and Soul give us life, energy and emotional and physical health. This is not even mentioning a sense of adventure, brought to us first through our imaginations. This accompanies practicing an artistic approach to everything we do.
Today we devalue imagination. More often than not, it is considered an idle waste of time. In reality, imagination is the key to unlocking possibilities. The act of visualizing and making story a part of our every day lives awakens our creative side. We begin to see all sorts of new creative ways to make the things we imagine to actually happen.
Waking up our creative self is not a new idea. We are hoping to encourage you to move farther down the road toward being your finest art.
One obstacle to a person stepping onto this road, is the distaste that has grown for “religious thinking”. When the soul is mentioned, people raise their defenses against the tyranny of dogma. I am one of those people. I really don’t like religiousity. I was raised by a father who was a simple farmer who loved philosophy and conversation and Jesus. He did not preach anything to me or to anyone. He asked me questions. I found answers and then spent years trying to convert him. Finally one day after I had been relentless in trying to extract a commitment from him, he said: “ Dors, come in here and sit down.” I sat obediently at the end of his bed. He then said: “look up and see what I read every morning when I wake and every night when I go to sleep. This is what I believe.” In front of me was an embroidered cloth his mother had given him. It had these words on it: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so”. I was speechless. This from a man, who all my life had been a gentle example of kindness and respectful regard toward every one who crossed his path, with the exception of people who used their religious ideas to hurt others or to place themselves on a higher level. I learn well. My dad did not have to repeat himself, though somehow I doubt he would have. I have grown, thankfully, farther away from “religious” thinking.
Thomas Moore said: “We can say that care of the soul requires a special crafting of life itself, with an artist’s sensitivity to the way things are done. Soul doesn’t pour into life automatically. It requires our skill and attention.” This is an eternal project. There will never be a point where have reached soul perfection. An artistic life leads us on a winding path. A path of awakening, of joy, of Love. We begin where we are. Today.